Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day!

It had been my plan to vote early. That didn't happen because I'm the kind of person who wants all their ducks in order before going to the polls. So when I finally found a version of the ballot that included everything I needed to know it was the last day of early voting and I missed my chance at that making preparations to help a friend, who'd just had back surgery, by answering the door and handing out candy for her thus minimizing her need to get up and down.

So this morning I pulled up Google to locate my polling place. The main system that you could use to find out where to go by your registration info kept giving me an error message. So I had to search for the entire list of places and then find my precinct on it. That was good, because then I had an address and could get a map of how to get there. I'm directionally challenged and get lost at the drop of a hat, or the turn of a corner.

One kind of neat thing I found while locating the list of polling places was an interactive tutorial of how to use the electronic voting machines. So I tried it out. It was simple enough that anyone should have been able to do it, but having done that tutorial walk through before heading out made the actual voting at the polls much more user friendly. So that's a good thing.

There was a prediction of a record turnout and long lines at the polls, so I had water, reading material, and my list of choices before I headed out. Then on the way to the polls I got lost. I overshot the street I was to turn on by at least a mile before I realized it wasn't where I had thought it was going to be and turned around to head back and find it. Once I found it, I was kind of surprised at the lightness of the traffic. I turned into the school parking lot and didn't see tons of ads which had been prevalent at the early voting places, which in my case was the public library. There was also plenty of parking. I showed my card, went up a ramp and showed my card again at the check in tables. I was handed a colored Popsicle stick with my precinct number on it for the fellow who set up the booth for you. My polling location was covering 4 precincts. They had about 5 or 6 machines. No curtained alcoves as in olden days. And no stickers for your driver's license...that was only for early voters.

When it was my turn, and the wait was less than 5 minutes, I approached the machine, turned the page of my list to match what I saw and went through the whole ballot (11 pages) one item at a time. There was only one thing on the ballot that wasn't on my paper example and that was a county vote on whether to change term limits on our councilmen and mayors or to leave them to two 2 year terms. I wasn't really happy with either choice and didn't feel they had put a middle of the road choice in there but I did the best I could with that one. Then I reviewed my ballot, hit the flashing red vote button, and voila! I'd voted.

Voting seemed much more relaxed this time around. One of the ladies manning a table outside said she had volunteered for that location because her kids went to that school. I told her that was great because she could not only see her kids but she was setting them an outstanding example. Then I came home. On the way home I got a call on my cell phone which was from "Kids First" and they were offering 2 free DVD movies for me to watch and review. I think it is the family entertainment folk who are no doubt out in force today. I don't have kids but they said they'd send me two free movies anyways. Yay!

When I got home I called a friend to see if they would be watching the election results on TV tonight because I had thought I'd enjoy watching them with someone, but they weren't interested. So I'm going to find a channel online and keep track that way with frequent refreshes if necessary. I don't expect my vote to make a huge difference. I'm just one person in a country of millions. But I know that if I don't express my choice by voting I'll have lost the opportunity to add my voice to the millions of others who also voted and together we can make a difference.


Sandi McBride said...

Good for you Lee, there for a minute I thought I was going to have to find a "I didn't get to vote because I got lost" sticker for your jacket! I always proudly wear my "I Voted" sticker on my jacket until it falls off or the jacket needs cleaning, whichever comes first. We were at the polls bright and early and didn't have to wait...but then we are a small place where everyone knows your name...

Lee said...

Your sticker is large enough to see on the lapel of a jacket? I'm jealous! LOL Go ahead and find me one of those "got lost" stickers, Sandi. I'm sure I can find a good use for it. (weg)

Lucky you living in a town where everyone's your neighbor. Living in a city that's the 8th largest in the country I've learned to make casual chit chat while standing in lines.


San said...

Wish you could come over to my house tonight, Lee. My in-laws are driving over to watch the returns with us. I'm making popcorn and candied apples. Rumor has it Bennie will be stopping on the way home for a bottle of bubbly.


Lee said...

Aww...Thanks San! I'd be there in a heartbeat if I could. Instead I'll hug you for being so kind as to invite me. Maybe next election. :)

Your snacks sound so yummy. Can we bob for apples in that bubbly? (G)